A Soft Opening Brings Stiff Competition

The Washington City Paper is just out with its Best of D.C. lists and already they are out of date. The addition of Le Diplomate to the city scene could change a few of them–best burger, best brunch? At the very least, I’m sure the editors will add Best French to their categories (there’s Best Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Irish, but no French, which says plenty), but I’d suggest they also add Best Dining Experience and Le Diplomate would run away with it.

At 5:30 on Friday, the masses were descending upon the new bistro at 14th and Q Streets NW, during its soft opening. We had a great table, and frankly I didn’t see anything but great tables, albeit a little sunny. The hubbub parted as restauranteur Stephen Starr himself approached our table and asked if we’d be happier with a bit less glare. Moments later we were even more comfortable and, even rarer, felt completely cared for.

And this was before our super hunky waiter arrived with a round of kir royals. The space is stunning and to the question “Does it feel like Paris?” I’d say, Who cares? It feels like New York. It’s so sleek and un-D.C. that we opted to sit inside despite the perfect weather and will again. As for the food, the sweetbreads were lovely, the burger awesome (two patties, cheese, onions, and pickles), and the creme brule just as you’d want it. All you can do is sit, stunned, and cheers that a Real Restaurant has finally opened in D.C. Style matters, people! And a little TLC doesn’t hurt.

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